I used to think of lobster as a chewy inferior version of crab, but then I learned how cool they are: some of the spiny lobsters can migrate hundreds of kilometers in single file! In any case, for many people a lobster dinner is a serious treat, and I hadn’t really appreciated how popular it is until I read this today on Reuters: “James Hook & Co, a Boston fish merchant that sells about 50,000 pounds (23,000 kilograms) of lobster each week.”
That’s 1,196,000kg of lobster sold per year, by one merchant in one city. If you consider that one lobster (Homarus americanus) weighs about 0.57kg, the Hook family is selling over 2 million lobsters a year! It seems like that would be a conservation issue, but apparently eating Maine lobster is okay environmentally. On the other hand you need to be careful when eating Caribbean spiny lobster – especially if it is imported to the US.
Spiny lobsters are fascinating: some migrate hundreds of kilometers to find deeper, calmer waters for breeding…in single file. If they are attacked, they may back up into a rosette-formation for defense. Pretty cool.
At one point a fishery in Australia tried to reduce incidental catch of under-sized lobsters and ended up making traps that were accidentally catching seals. Luckily they were able to find a solution and the lobster fishery is now well-managed with reduced bycatch.